Tibi blasted for allegedly preventing ZOA chairman Klein from entering Knesset

American Likud activists tussle with MK Ahmed Tibi during a visit to the Knesset Monday evening.

tibi 248.88 AJ (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
tibi 248.88 AJ
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
After American Likud activists tussled with MK Ahmed Tibi during a visit to the Knesset Monday evening, MK Danny Danon (Likud) submitted a letter to Knesset Speaker Reuven Rivlin blasting Tibi's behavior and asking Rivlin to remind the UAL MK that "he is not in charge of the Knesset." The incident began when Likud America activists, including ZOA Chairman Morton Klein, arrived at the entrance of the Knesset for a convivial meeting with Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and other senior Likud ministers. But at the entrance, the activists spotted Tibi, and Klein called out towards him, asking why at a conference in Doha, Tibi claimed that he was representing Palestine rather than Israel. According to Tibi, the Knesset guard heard the outburst, and prohibited Klein from entering because "he violated the rules of the Knesset that prohibit non-MKs from verbally assaulting MKs." Danon, however, argued that Klein was blocked from entering at Tibi's instigation. "What Morton Klein asked him exactly reflects the concerns of Jews regarding the loyalty of Arab Israelis," said Danon. "Morton took it very hard. He is someone who gives all his life for Israel, and he came to see the prime minister and ministers, and was left waiting outside." It was only after two hours of waiting outside of the building that Klein agreed to meet with Tibi, and Rivlin then instructed the Knesset Guard to permit Klein's entrance. At that point, Klein, together with MKs Yohanan Plessner and Ze'ev Bielski (Kadima) met with Tibi. According to Tibi, Klein behaved "in a very polite manner, and said "I didn't intend to offend you. I am sorry if I offended you. It was not my intention." But Klein and Danon denied that the ZOA chief had made any such apology to the MK. Approximately one hour later, Tibi ran into Klein and another Likud activist, Steven Goldberg, near his office. Tibi said that the second activist accused him of being "a liar" in response to reports of Klein's apology. Once again, the Knesset Guard responded, attempting to remove both Klein and Goldberg. This time, said Tibi, he intervened on Klein's behalf, telling the guard that Klein had not yelled, and should thus not be thrown out of the Knesset. Danon also complained to Rivlin regarding the behavior of the Knesset Guard, which he said lent a hand to Tibi at the expense of pro-Israel activists. Tibi, on the other hand, argued that while he was willing to hear such criticism from a fellow MK such as Danon, he was unwilling to accept it from visitors to the building.